UN calls for compromise, cooperation over Nile dam

The United Nations on Tuesday called for compromise and cooperation in order to reach an agreement over the disputed Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on the Nile.

“I think we can’t underscore enough the importance of compromise and cooperation,” said Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, when asked about Guterres’ reaction to the failed talks between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan under the auspices of the African Union (AU).

“We’ve taken note of the conclusion of the discussions in Kinshasa (of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, or DRC). We continue to urge the parties to continue with the efforts to take concrete steps towards reaching an agreement on the issue.”

The initiatives of DRC President Felix Tshisekedi, as AU chairperson, in reconvening the parties is to be welcomed. The United Nations stands ready to support these efforts as guided by the parties, said Dujarric. “But I think the critical message is one of continued compromise and cooperation.”

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday that the latest negotiations in Kinshasa made no progress and failed to reach an agreement.

Ethiopia, an upstream Nile basin country, started building the dam in 2011, while Egypt is concerned that the dam might affect its annual share of the Nile water. Sudan has recently been raising similar concerns. Over the past few years, tripartite talks on the rules of filling and operating the dam with a total capacity of 74 billion cubic meters have been fruitless, including the early ones hosted by Washington and the recent ones by the AU.